White remains convinced that AstraZeneca’s lobbying clout has overwhelmed whatever common sense might otherwise prevail in Washington, D.C. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that from 1999 to 2011, AstraZeneca spent $32.6 million lobbying federal government agencies with assistance from 14 different lobbying firms.
Dr. Peter Breggin, an upstate New York psychiatrist who has been critical of what he considers a general overuse of psychiatric medications, told TheDC that antipsychotics are the wrong prescription for patients who are facing stress, especially those who face acute stress during combat.
“Antipsychotic drugs simply [work by] suppressing your frontal lobe,” Breggin said. “You have less wherewithal from which to deal with life. You don’t want to give Seroquel to people dealing with stress, period.”
“The stress of war should not be treated as a medical problem. It’s a human problem, and it requires interventions that are psychological, social and educational.”
White continues to believe the VA and the military don’t embrace those non-pharmaceutical interventions for a simple reason: Drug therapy is cheaper. And it has the beneficial side effect of enriching the pharmaceutical industry, one of Congress’s biggest financial supporters.
But he and a small group of advocates continue to push for an end to the medical practice that he believes took the life of his younger son.
“We are calling upon the military for an immediate embargo of all antipsychotics and antidepressants,” White said, “until there has been a complete study.”